Ocean Drilling Program Site 1119 is ideally located to intercept discharges of sediment from the mid-latitude glaciers of the New Zealand Southern Alps. The natural gamma ray signal from the site's sediment core contains a history of the South Island mountain ice cap since 3.9 million years ago (Ma). The younger record, to 0.37 Ma, resembles the climatic history of Antarctica as manifested by the Vostok ice core. Beyond, and back to the late Pliocene, the record may serve as a proxy for both mid-latitude and Antarctic polar plateau air temperature. The gamma ray signal, which is atmospheric, also resembles the ocean climate history represented by oxygen isotope time series.